As I leave the holiday season behind me I find myself thinking about some of the good fortune I’ve had in my life. My career is certainly one of the things for which I’m most thankful. There are few jobs in this world that will pay you play games.
But as any developer will tell you, testing games and playing games are very different things though. Having to repeat the exact same played action dozens of times looking for an edge case (a bug that occurs in rare circumstances) can get tedious after a while; particularly when there’s a really exciting game and you’re stuck standing at the gates.
For Star Pirates Infinity, and card games in general, we face unique challenges. Since cards remain in play and can have effects across the board and touching many cards, balance is a tricky thing to achieve. While a particular card may seem to have an effect that is reasonable based on the cost of the card, effects can be amplified by interactions with other card abilities.
Precise language is also critical. Anyone who has played games such as Pokemon, Magic TG or Hearthstone will tell you that the addition or removal of a bit of punctuation can totally change the meaning of a card. This presents another challenge that our goal is to have a multilingual game at release, but starting the translation while card review is ongoing will force us into some updates to the translated text as card details are refined.
The best part now is that most of the cards are in the game and playable, the deck manager is working, and both PvP and missions are working really well. It just makes me thankful that not only do I get to play games, I get to play games that I and my team – colleagues and friends – have designed and built together. Yeah, my job is pretty cool.
Christian “Balthagor” Latour
Product Manager, SHG Studios